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Psalm 9

God’s Power and Justice

To the leader: according to Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.


I will give thanks to the L ord with my whole heart;

I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.


I will be glad and exult in you;

I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.



When my enemies turned back,

they stumbled and perished before you.


For you have maintained my just cause;

you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.



You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked;

you have blotted out their name forever and ever.


The enemies have vanished in everlasting ruins;

their cities you have rooted out;

the very memory of them has perished.



But the L ord sits enthroned forever,

he has established his throne for judgment.


He judges the world with righteousness;

he judges the peoples with equity.



The L ord is a stronghold for the oppressed,

a stronghold in times of trouble.


And those who know your name put their trust in you,

for you, O L ord, have not forsaken those who seek you.



Sing praises to the L ord, who dwells in Zion.

Declare his deeds among the peoples.


For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;

he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.



Be gracious to me, O L ord.

See what I suffer from those who hate me;

you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,


so that I may recount all your praises,

and, in the gates of daughter Zion,

rejoice in your deliverance.



The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;

in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.


The L ord has made himself known, he has executed judgment;

the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah



The wicked shall depart to Sheol,

all the nations that forget God.



For the needy shall not always be forgotten,

nor the hope of the poor perish forever.



Rise up, O L ord! Do not let mortals prevail;

let the nations be judged before you.


Put them in fear, O L ord;

let the nations know that they are only human. Selah

12. For in requiring blood. In the original, it is bloods, in the plural number, and, therefore, the relative which follows immediately after, And remembereth THEM, may very properly be referred to that word in this way, He requireth bloods, and remembereth them. But as it is sufficiently common in Hebrew to invert the order of the antecedent and the relative, and to put them before the word to which it refers, 176176     “Et de mettre Eux, devant le mot auquel il se rapporte.” — Fr. some explain it of the poor, thus: In requiring blood, he hath remembered them, namely, the poor, of whom he speaks a little after. As to the sum and substance of the matter, it is of small importance in which of these ways we explain the relative; but the former is, in my view, the more natural explanation. There is here a repetition of what the Psalmist had said a little before, that we ought especially to consider God’s power, as it is manifested in the mercy which he exercises towards his servants, who are unrighteously persecuted by wicked men. From the numerous works of God, he selects one which he commends as especially worthy of being remembered, namely, his work in delivering the poor from death. God sometimes leaves them in his holy providence to be persecuted by men; but at length he takes vengeance for the wrongs inflicted upon them. The words which David uses denote a continued act; but I have no doubt that he intends from those examples, which he has related in the preceding part of the psalm, to lead men to acknowledge that God requireth innocent blood, and remembers the cry of his people.

He again insists on what I adverted to before, that God does not always put a stop to injuries so speedily as we would wish, nor break the attempts of the wicked at the first, but rather withholds and delays his assistance, so that it may seem that we cry to him in vain, a truth which it is of importance for us to understand; for if we measure the help of God according to our senses, our courage will ever and anon fail us, and in the end our hope will be entirely extinguished, and will give place to despondency and despair. We would fondly wish him, as I have said, to stretch forth his hand to a distance, and drive back the troubles which he sees to be prepared for us; yet he seems to take no notice, and does not prevent the blood of the innocent from being shed. Let this consolatory consideration, however, sustain us, that he will at length actually show how precious our blood was in his sight. If it is objected, that God’s assistance comes too late, after we have endured all calamities, I answer, God delays to interfere no longer than he knows it to be of advantage for us to be humbled under the cross, and if he chooses rather to take vengeance after we have suffered outrage, than to aid us previous to the infliction of evil, it is not because he is not always willing and ready to succor us; but because he knows it is not always a proper time for manifesting his grace. By the way, it is a striking evidence, not only of his fatherly love towards us, but of the blessed immortality which is the portion of all the children of God, that he has a care about them even after they are dead. Were he always by his grace to prevent affliction from befalling us, who is there amongst us who would not be wholly attached to the present life? When, however, he avenges our death, from this it appears that, though dead, we still remain alive in his presence. For he does not, after the manner of men, hold in estimation the memory of those whom he could not preserve alive, 177177     “Car ce n’est pas qu’il face comme les hommes qui auront en estime et reverence apres la mort la memoire de leurs amis quand ils ne leur ont peu sauver la vie. — Fr. “For he does not act like men, who hold in estimation and reverence after death the memory of their friends, when they can no longer preserve their life.” but he actually shows that he cherishes in his bosom, and gives protection to those who seem to be no more, viewing them according to the flesh. And this is the reason why David says that he remembereth blood when he requireth it; for although he may not presently deliver his servants from the swords of the wicked, yet he suffers not their murder to pass unpunished. To the same purpose is the last clause He forgetteth not the cry of the afflicted God may not show, by granting instant deliverance or relief, that he lends an immediate ear to the complaints of his servants; but at length he proves unanswerably that he has regarded them. Express mention is made of crying, to encourage all who desire to experience God as their deliverer and protector, to direct their wishes, groanings, and prayers to him.

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